“If you don’t want to use military force any more than you have to, count me in. State Department, USAID, all of these programs, in their own way, help win this struggle against radical Islam. The unsung heroes of this war are the State Department officials, the [Department of Justice] officials, and the agricultural people who are going out there.”
State’s spokesman P.J. Crowley told POLITICO, “If we have to take a significant cut in foreign assistance, in some fashion, that is going to affect Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. Those are countries where we have vital interests and vital security concerns.”
As a new Congress gets into gear, both Republicans and Democrats have a solemn duty to do the people’s work and to make sure their taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely. U.S. foreign assistance is already under the microscope, as it should be, but we believe policymakers should focus on making it better instead of slashing budgets. Foreign assistance accounts for less than 1% of our federal budget, and our investments in it can pay real dividends for the cost.
We strongly oppose last week’s Republican Study Committee budget proposal, which would cut all operating expenses at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The cuts would derail the comprehensive reform agenda underway inside the agency, at a time when its ability to perform effectively is crucial to our national security, our economic interests, and the lives and well-being of millions of the world’s most vulnerable people.
The fact that we have come this far shows there is a broad, bipartisan consensus in Washington on the need to make U.S. foreign aid more effective, particularly because it is so critical to ongoing national security efforts, but also because we need our development dollars to go further in a time of tight budgets. The administration and Congress now must work together to finish the job, and turn these bold proposals into lasting policies and structures.
“Today, Pakistanis are far more mistrustful of U.S. motives for giving aid. Consider, for instance, these quite typical newspaper headlines in Pakistan: “U.S. pilots fly Pakistan flood aid to win hearts and minds,” reported the Dawn newspaper on August 10th. “$224 million pledged to win ‘hearts, minds” said the Nation’s headline on August 24th. Rarely is U.S. aid mentioned in a newspaper article without the term “hearts and minds” right alongside it.”
On Wednesday, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah visited Pakistan to witness the damage caused by severe flooding. On USAID’s Impact Blog, Shah described his view from the helicopter: “As far as the eye could see, foundations and buttresses supported nonexistent houses and bridges, power lines lay hopelessly tangled on the ground, and roads destroyed and washed … Continue reading Shah Visits Floods in Pakistan
“No, money may not be everything, but ‘follow the money’ remains the best advice for understanding what the priorities of the American government really are.”
See below for a sampling of opinion pieces and news articles discussing the floods in Pakistan and the disaster’s implications for security and development: Pakistan’s tragic flooding demands an international response (The Washington Post editorial, August 17) There is a strategic case for aiding Pakistan in this time of crisis. Timely, generous assistance could improve America’s … Continue reading Noteworthy News – Pakistan Floods
“The opinion about the United States in Pakistan will change when the people of Pakistan see how, through this partnership, their lives have changed.”